Another over the top, pretentious, ridiculously expensive devoid o' soul, eating parlour which seem to be spawning in Philly these days. I HATE places like this, So slick, AND they have had the audacity to ruin a beautiful old building. Why does everything have to be so glitzy? and BIG? And IT IS A CHAIN!!!!!!The word "upscale" makes my skin crawl ! ARGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!
I don't see why "chain" necessarily equals "bad." Certainly, many chains serve yucky food, but some don't. I've eaten at Oceanaire in Indianapolis three times: all three meals were superb. The fish and shellfish tasted just-from-the-sea, and the selection was terrific. I don't like the steak house style of ordering huge portions of sides, so I don't do it. I simply order a salad and lots of seafood and am very happy with the outcome. If you live on the coast, feel free to be a non-chain snob. For those of us in the mid-west, well, maybe we're a little more tolerant. (However, I have to say that my most recent dinner at Oceanaire in Indy was way better than my most recent seafood dinner in Portland. Go figger!)
I am a food chain snob wherever I am AND I feel your pain. It's a bummer not being able to eat delicious, freshly prepared food. I wonder how fresh the fish served in the middle of the country can be? Unless it is shipped in DAILY, I wouldn't want to eat it. Does the menu here explain where the fish comes from and when? Perhaps it does, please elaborate, I am curious. I especially dislike restaurants as theme parks and prefer the bulk of the attention be paid to the freshness and careful prep of the food to sitting in a faux ocean liner or a room so huge(steak house style the SIZE OF A FOOTBALL FIELD) and loud that you can't talk to the person sitting next to you. SO unlovley!!!!! I was invited to a birthday dinner at one of these places lately and felt SO stressed after the meal from having to scream to communicate , I couldn't wait to get out of there.
Actually, the one here in MSP (the original Oceanaire of all places), and all of them fly/source all of their fish daily. They keep the records, waybills, whatever and in some cases post them up in the restaurant.
Not being able to get fresh fish in the midwestern U.S. is a myth. You pay a premium for the shipping, but there are enough restaurants and institutions with excellent relationships with suppliers worldwide that, assuming the price is paid, allow places in the midwest to have preference over the local coastal seafood markets for the top-quality stuff. The distribution channels to get seafood to the midwest via air are sometimes more efficient (hours-wise) than trucking them in to barely inland cities. Unless you're plucking them off the boat yourself, there's often little difference. Again, this assumes the demand is there and the money is paid.
P.S. -- Personally, I think Oceanaire is one of the most overrated restaurants even here in MSP. Unfortunately, they don't have too much competition in restaurants offering a broad range of fish/seafood on any given day. If I want great fish, I cook it myself.